I thought I would share with you the story of my first Valentine's Day with Dan. It certainly was memorable.
My college roommate, Sarah, was from Knoxville, Iowa, and, while at home for Christmas break in 1991, had visited with long time family friends. Sarah learned that their middle son, Dan, was stationed 4 hours away from her college. As it wasn't that far away, she invited him to come visit for a weekend.
Dan, made arrangements to visit her. He arrived in January of 1992.
My other roommate, Lisa, and I were horrible to Sarah. Once we learned a guy was coming to visit her, we teased her relentlessly! We even followed the two of them to breakfast and sat a few tables away where we were facing Sarah (Dan's back was to us) and we made faces at her the entire meal. We were terrible! (but it was really fun)
My initial impressions of Dan were that he was very weird (he was wearing his hair in a reverse mohawk - the front was combed straight down and the sides were standing at attention - so dorky- I am sure he would love a chance to defend his choice, and let me assure you that he does have a defense, but it is MY blog =0) ha! ha!
I also thought he was very self centered and cocky because all he could do was talk about himself. He never asked questions of anyone else or engaged others in give-and-take conversation unless the conversation was about him. (His explanation for this was that he was young, and "bullet proof" because he had just returned from serving in Dessert Shield and Dessert Storm and had so much to tell/share)
I had zero positive feelings for him and the furthest thing from my mind was dating him. This was NOT a story of love at first sight.
However... one of the things I remembered of his visit that weekend was that he talked about how lonely it was during his military training. They would spend weeks at a time sleeping in the woods and it was really hard being so far away from family and friends.
When he left that weekend, he had given us his address. As much as I disregarded him, God gave me a soft spot for him. I felt sorry for him and so decided to write to him. There was still NO thought of romance or even affection at this point. I enjoyed writing letters (I had numerous pen pals through the years) and receiving mail so I wrote.
I didn't tell anyone what I was doing as, frankly, it wasn't a big deal to me. I began by telling him about myself and asking questions about him. I had no idea if he would respond, but I wouldn't be happy with myself if I knew that someone out there was lonely and It was within my power to help and I did nothing.
It didn't take long for the mail to start filling my mailbox at college. (email and cell phones didn't exist then)
A few weeks later, a very dear friend and former teacher of mine passed away and several of my friends and I drove home to Pennsylvania to attend her funeral.
When I arrived back at campus, my roommates told me that Dan had called while I was gone, but was going to call again (and they were rather giddy - like they knew something I didn't know.)
Dan did call again and told me he was coming to visit the campus again. He said he would be there over Valentine's weekend and wondered if I would attend the college's Valentine Banquet with him. I was incredibly nervous as this was the last thing I had expected. I really felt "on the spot" and I have a horrible time saying "no" on the phone, so my automatic answer was "sure".
I explained to him that I wouldn't get to spend much time with him at the dinner as 2 of my girlfriends and I would be singing/performing "Somewhere" (from West Side Story) as part of the entertainment for the banquet. As my roommates would be sitting with us, he said that was fine he would just visit with them until I could join him.
As the weekend approached, I learned of a play that was scheduled to start after the dinner but had heard rumors that the tickets were all gone. I went to a lot of trouble and found a friend who had reserved tickets but who also would not be able to use them. She graciously gave me her tickets. So, we now had plans for after dinner.
When Dan arrived, I shared with him the information about the tickets and he seemed excited to go to the play. After he hung up the phone with me, he learned of a few other events going on that evening...(more to come about that..)
As the time approached for the dinner, I got increasingly nervous. I had only ever seen this guy in casual clothes or his military clothes. How would he dress? And... he had done that weird reverse mohawk thing with his hair in the past... I really, really, didn't want to be embarrassed to be seen with a guy I hardly knew.
When I arrived at our meeting place, I have to admit, I was very pleasantly surprised. He had on a very nice, stylish, trendy suit, nice shoes and his hair was normal. (big sigh of relief). The evening was going to be ok after all.
I greeted him and then had to leave to go prepare to sing for the crowd.
After we finished singing, I joined Dan at our table and we had a lot of fun visiting with my roommates. As we left the dinner, Dan walked me back to my dorm and asked me to wait while he got something out of his car
(a little side note... Dan drove a very nice sporty car... bright metallic blue Geo Storm- which he always parked outside of our dorm room window - this will be significant to our story later...)
I waited for Dan by his car and when he returned, he handed me a white Teddy Bear and a card. He then looked at me and asked if it would be ok for him to miss the play. Oh yes he did!!!
I have to admit that when he said that, I entered into some kind of shock. Although, I didn't have romantic feelings for him at this point, I couldn't believe a guy could be so rude as to cancel plans on Valentine's Day - especially plans that I had gone to GREAT effort to secure.
He was really starting to slip back into the very first impression I had of him... NOT GOOD!
He explained that one of his favorite music artists was in town and he had never seen him perform. Several of the guys from the dorms were going to go and he really wanted to go see this artist... again, I felt "on the spot" and said "fine - go" (all these years later, Dan finally knows what "fine - go" REALLY means! ha! ha!)
So, we part ways... Dan trots off to his concert (there truly was a little hop/skip in his step) and I numbly and in shock walked to my dorm room. I just couldn't believe I had just had that encounter - what a JERK!!
I ask my roommate, Lisa, if she wants to go to the play with me and she says "yes". So we went to the play.
While I was in the play, Dan was at his concert...and God begins to convict him... The artist says "How many of you guys brought your valentines tonight?" - the crowd cheers wildly and in Dan's head he hears "How many of you guys left your date back on campus at the dorm"... The artist then announces that the first couple to come on stage wins new T-shirts (and Dan thinks... "I could have been a couple tonight, but I left my date behind").... As the concert begins, Dan feels more rotten and more rotten and even more rotten. He feels so rotten that he decides to leave the concert and come find the date he abandoned - ME.
He knows that I am at the play so he goes to the auditorium and waits by the main doors thinking he can find me as I leave the play. After the play, my roommate and I decide to avoid the sea of couples and so we exit by the back door.
Once Dan realizes that he has completely missed me, he goes to my dorm, sends a note to my room and asks if we can talk. I was halfway into my pajamas by this time and really didn't want to make the effort to talk with someone who could be so, so - well, not the kind of guy I was interested in...
However, the girls who saw the note, convinced me to go hear him out. I pulled on some decent clothes and met him in the lobby. He looked really nervous- he really knew he had screwed up. We went somewhere quiet and he proceeded to apologize and tell me about his night and how miserable he was and how he just "had" to come back.
I had started to see a different side of Dan through his letters and had begun to think my first impression of him was all wrong - but then he pulled that stunt on Valentine's Day and made me second guess myself again.
HOWEVER... what made me give him another chance, was that 1.) He came back, 2.) He sought me out 3.)He admitted he had been wrong and 4.) He felt horrible about it and was honestly humble and repentent.
That was a Friday night. On Saturday, we met again and played boardgames and talked more. On Sunday, we went to church together and had lunch together.
When Dan left after that weekend, I honestly felt sad to see him go... A friendship was starting to develop...
Stay tuned for even more of our story... Click HERE to read Part 2 of the story